Bronze Age, Greek, Bucranium, Cast Lead, 3rd Cent BC, Excessively Rare!
Cast Lead; 54mm x 48mm x 3mm/24.5gm
Con/ missing ear and garland to right, otherwise, as cast; beautiful and eye-pleasing brown oxidized lead patina.
Ref/ Encyclopedia Britannica
Seller's Note/ A Bucranium was a decorative motif representing an ox killed in religious sacrifice. The motif originated in a ceremony wherein an ox’s head was hung from the wooden beams supporting the temple roof; this scene was later represented, in stone, on the frieze, or stone lintels, above the columns in Doric temples. The motif has been found on painted pottery in Iraq dating from 5000 bc. It was later imported into Bronze Age Crete as part of the bull and double-ax cult, where the bull’s head was decorated with a garland of bay leaves. In Roman examples, the garland of bay leaves was omitted.
Note the image on our bucranium is not an ox head, but rather the head of a ram! And no bay leaves; instead bunches of grapes. As this marvelous artifact was found in the Black Sea region, we surmise it was made in one of the Greek colony cities, especially as there appears to be graffiti scratches on both sides that look to be Greek. (see the 2nd and 3rd photo)
Why a ram's head rather than an oxen? Again, mere conjecture, but perhaps the Greeks were marketing such things to the local Celtic tribes who believed a ram was a more virile offering to their gods?